15 May 2009


This afternoon, on the phone, my sister said that she thought I was kind of a snob in high school.

She's probably right. I was skinny, underdeveloped, didn't take very good care of myself, wore unfashionable clothes, profoundly lonely, and tried to make up for it by showing off my superior intelligence. I don't remember being overtly mean to people on more than a couple of occasions, but by the time I had reached tenth grade, I'd developed a pretty prickly shell, which was the first thing people saw. Mostly from being teased for years and made to feel outcast by popular girls and unpopular boys alike. Unpopular wouldn't have even described me--I wasn't even on the social radar screen.

Yes, high school was not my high point.

Had she told me that just a few years ago, I would have reacted differently. I would have been defensive, and I would have tried to explain my behavior and find someone to blame for it.

But now I'm staring down the barrel of thirty, and I'm starting to feel differently. Twenty is when you blame your mother for everything that's wrong with you. Thirty is when you own up and assume the consequences for your own behavior. Thirty is when you stop caring about what happened in high school. Thirty is when you move on.

Looking at it this way, thirty can't come fast enough.

10 April 2009

Ten Common Enough Things That I Have Never Done

1. My taxes
2. Mowed the lawn
3. Changed a tire
4. Smoked a cigarette
5. Been to a concert at a large venue with a big-name headliner
6. Seen 456 of Star Wars in their entirety
7. Gone spring breakin'
8. Sought legal advice
9. Owned a pet
10. Taken out a loan

06 April 2009

And It's a Monday, Too

You know how, when you break a glass, you quickly vacuum up the shards? And how no matter how carefully and thoroughly you vacuum, you always miss a few? And how, inevitably, you locate those remaining shards by stepping on them?

Yes, my day started with me digging glass shards out of the bottom of my foot at 7:15 in the morning. It hasn't gotten better yet.

27 January 2009

No One Ever Mentions the Drawbacks

Winter basket January 6
Originally uploaded by skorky64.
I've been eating mostly local organic vegetables and eggs since last June, supplemented with grocery store stuff only when needed. It's been a fun time of exploration and discovery, and I do feel somewhat healthier. Or at least more virtuous, in the "I eat more vegetables than you do" kind of way.

But there are drawbacks. Beyond the challenge of eating the season (mountains of the same food, all at once), I've found that one by one, the snacks and prepared food of my childhood are no longer as satisfying.

I've started to make my own popcorn in a saucepan, rather than microwave popcorn. (Although that's more to do with not having a microwave.) It tastes so much fresher, and I can put as little salt as I want on it. Campbell's tomato soup felt gluey in my mouth after I had my homemade version. Jell-O instant pudding is too sweet. I still eat Spaghetti-Os when I'm by myself, but they taste more and more metallic to me each time. It won't be long before I give them up completely.

But my last holdout was Velveeta. Yes, the "processed cheese food" appellation scares me, but it's so darn creamy and melty and smooth. Nothing else works on a grilled cheese sandwich quite like the cheese in the foil-wrapped brick.

Frenchy left yesterday for a week-long job elsewhere, and so grocery shoppers on Monday evening saw me rush to the cheese aisle like it was 1849 California. Gruyere, Cheddar, Velveeta, goat, anything I could lay my hands on. By the time I got home, I was starving, so I made myself one of my favorite snack/dinners: fried egg, slice of ham and Velveeta on a toasted English muffin.

But something was off. I can't explain it, but it just didn't taste right. I finally narrowed it down to the Velveeta. There was something wrong with it. Is it that I've gotten used to the taste of fresher foods, or that I've just grown up?

There should be a term for it: the slow loss of childhood pleasures, the realization that what you used to enjoy just isn't that desirable anymore. I've grown up and have replaced each item with a grown-up equivalent, but I still want the old taste. Or rather, the familiarity that the old taste gave me.

I'm too young for nostalgia.

24 November 2008

The Less Commonly Seen Hispanic Southerner

Without flirtation (I think) and while cooking up my delicious pasta lunch lunch, the cafe chef referred to me repeatedly as "sweetheart."

Aw, I miss living in the South!

20 November 2008

Am I Happy?

On the morning of what is to be, ultimately, three Thanksgiving meals (and none of them actually on Thanksgiving Day), I find it appropriate to ask myself if I'm truly happy.

By all rational accounts, I should be insanely happy. I enjoy good health, as do those around me, I have a good family and a few good friends, a steady job, money in the bank, a wealth of entertainment at my fingertips. I don't own a TV. I have a lovely new life partner, and we've made good steps to building a sustaibale lifestyle in the past few weeks. There's no one dropping bombs on me, curtailing my freedoms in any significant way, taking my home away. I've lost money in the stock market, just like everyone else, but at least I have some savings, and the mentality to save.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs says that humans have five basic levels of need. Each level is dependent on the one below it; you cannot reach for a higher level of need without achieving the one below. You can temporarily regress and place a higher importance on health, for example (say you suddenly get sick), but you don't necessarily have to work back through all the levels to get back to where you were.

It's interesting to look around you and try to figure out where people are. (It's even more interesting to determine what level they lack, but that's mean-spirited.) My father-in-law recently started writing novels and is now published. Could we say that he has attained the fifth level of creative output? Does my growing knitting habit represent a channel of creativity? Am I really the happiest when I'm sewing something?

Around this time of year, it's worth taking a look at this pyramid. I could always have more friends, more security, more confidence, more spontaneity, but overall I'm doing pretty well. Here's to remembering that.

05 November 2008

Vade retro

As heartened as I am by Barack Obama's victory, as much as I believe this is the first election in a while in which people voted for a candidate rather than against his opponent, as disappointed as I was when I finally made up my mind that McCain was no longer the moderate ethical voice in the Republican Party, mostly what I feel today is relief.

Relief that the hokey woman in the lipstick, heels and designer suits is going back into obscurity where she belongs.

I can handle someone who believes in an abstract story of creation. I don't judge a person for having a regional accent or for using earthy language. I have felt myself the mind-blank when put on the spot.

But to ridicule solid, promising scientific research on fruit flies and bears? Research that can potentially lead to breakthroughs, not to mention contribute to the worldwide body of knowledge? That is unforgivable, short-sighted and warped.

Good riddance.