May 28, 2006

Sacred Feminine?

Warning: Spoilers (and a bit of a rant) Ahead

I tend to be someone who resists doing what everyone else is doing. Which is why it took me ‘til Tuesday, laid up in bed with food poisoning, to finally read the DaVinci Code. I’ve heard a lot of the he said/she said, what are the facts hullabaloo. Whatever. Just taking the book on its own intrinsic merits and internal logic, I was pissed off annoyed by the end.

The whole book is about the Sacred Feminine: the supposed core of truth removed by the early church. Yet his definition of the Sacred Feminine is strangely masculine. He has a list of famous men who have led the Priory of Sion over the years. Why is it all men? He could have used Christina Rosseti (oh look, there’s ROSE in her name!) or Hildegard of Bingen as well known historical women. Near the end of the book he mentions in passing that four women led the group but couldn’t be bothered to name any. And Sophie, who’d been educated by the current PS leader, needed a man to help her figure out the clues? Oh, and let me be sure I understand, by his definition being a Sacred Woman means I get to have sex in front of 30 chanting people with some famous man? Oh wait, I get to be on TOP. Oh, ok. Now I feel much better.

Why is it that in DaVinci code goddess worship seems to involve sex rites and temple prostitutes? Women are free to have sex with whomever they choose, that’s what sets them free and gives them power? This isn’t about prudery or whatever on my part, but sex seems like stereotypical coin for women to need use in exchange for power. Go ahead, have your orgy, visit your temple prostitute, just don’t tell me you’re doing it to honor me as a woman. There’s nothing radical or sacred about that.

Dan Brown maintains that by Jesus marrying Mary Magdalene and having a child with her he was elevating women. Frankly what Jesus really did for Mary was much more radical. He saw her as a person. He didn’t have to have sex with her, marry her, or have children with her for her to be valuable. He instead recognized her intrinsic worth. In most societies around the world and throughout history, that has not been true. Even now in the US most of my single women friends are agonizing about still being single. Without anyone saying it, there’s a sense that something is ‘wrong’ with them. If they were smarter, nicer, prettier, more willing to compromise, etc surely they’d be married by now. But Jesus values women for themselves. They were part of the group of disciples as unmarried women. He let himself be touched in public by an ‘unclean’ woman (who wept over his feet, dried them with her—unbound=prostitute—hair, and anointed his feet with perfume). His masculinity didn’t need a woman for validation and he valued the feminine in woman without needing to possess her.

May 26, 2006

Trying to Leave

I'm sorry for the slim postings this week. My biggest client FREAKS out when I go out of town. She's making me finalize art that's due at the end of June! She wants all bases covered and if I'm not here she can't change the art on a whim. This is the same client who had me changing graphics while my sister was in labor. Which would be fine, except that I'd gone to Seattle to BE with my sister and I literally had to leave the hospital and find a wireless cafe so I could send changes to my client. (Really it wasn't that bad, OTRsis was sleeping after getting her epidural (sp?!), but the principal of it is irksome)

Which means that I spent all day today working on two stupid art panels. Memorial Day will now be spent catching up on everything I've postponed because of this client. But it's a holiday so I can't make all the phone calls I need to... and I fly out on Tuesday. When I get back we'll likely have to put the house on the market.

Insanity! I keep going by thinking "This time next week, I'll be in Ireland. Granted it'll be raining and cold, but still beautiful!"

In the midst of this I wonder, what will my client do when I move?

Ha! I KNEW I was really black*!

You Are Storm

Exotic and powerful, Storm descended from a line of African priestesses.
Emotions can effect your powers, but you are generally serene.

Powers: controlling weather, creating winds that lift you into flight, generating lightning

*or African-American, whichever you prefer...

May 24, 2006

Flambe Ambrochet

At least that’s what my Dad called it. When I was 13 or 14 my Mom took a month off. We were told it was a vacation to visit friends and family. But mostly, I suspect she needed to regroup from the whole Mom/Wife thing. In any case, while she was gone we subsisted on lots of hot dogs and hash.

During that time, as I was soaking in the bath, Dad banged on the door. “Hurry out, we’re having ‘flambe ambrochet’ for dinner!” (That’s the way it sounded, I have no idea how to spell it.) Well, it certainly sounded more promising than our usual fare. I dried off in a hurry and rushed out. It was a dinner that certainly counted in my family as comfort food, but not as a dinner item. It certainly didn’t qualify for the bath rush. I glared at him in disgust before digging in.

This was on par with the time Dad asked if we wanted to have a party. We got revved up. He got us yelling ‘yes!!’ over and over again. Then he ran us up the stairs, threw open the door to the bedrooms and crowed, “It’s a clean up party!” (I clearly have some forgiveness issues…)

Monday I ate some bad yogurt. I started getting queasy that evening and went downhill from there. After a LONG night and a slow, sleepy day full of tiny nibbles of bread and a few sips of water at a time, I was finally hungry again. I asked Jrex if he thought my old standby would work for a late night snack. He advised against it, but then he’s always found this one of my more disgusting habits. He suggested clear broth or ginsing tea, gentle foods. I thanked him for the advice, and counter to all medical instruction, went into the kitchen, took out the box of graham crackers, broke some into a bowl, and covered it with milk. Grabbing my spoon and the novel of the day, I happily dug in. Flambe Ambrochet.

This morning he looked at me skeptically, “How do you feel?”

I grinned, “Great! It worked like a charm.” He shook his head and shrugged. Some things my family does are just inexplicable to him. I have to admit that I’d feel silly listing graham crackers and milk as one of my Survivor necessities, but it’s not far from the truth (despite my Dad’s attempt to scar it from the comfort chart).

What about you? Did your family make up names for ordinary menu items? Do you have a cure-all comfort food? The essential item for your cast-away experience?

May 22, 2006

Breathing is Optional

One thing I don’t like about blogging is that I feel bad when I sprawl. There are so many things going on that I could type and type and type, but I know MY eyes would glaze over if I had to read that so I’ll be merciful. Here’s the short version of life at the moment (and it’s still long!! Sorry.)

-The ink is not yet signed on the contract between Jrex’s advisor and Stanford, but it might as well be. Looks like the move is a go.

-We met with our realtor (and friend) who told us to sell the shed ‘as is’ (thank God!). She pointed out things that we hadn’t even noticed: residual mold from a leaky bucket in the basement, loose caulk on the front step, and peeling paint on the thingy over the back door. I’m in the midst of stripping and reglazing a tree house window. Yeah, you heard that right: a window that belongs to a tree house. Who has a tree house that needs maintenance?!! All I can say is don’t buy a house from a meticulous house hobbyist (well, actually—DO buy that house cause it’ll be in great shape, but be prepared to feel tons of pressure because you can’t maintain the tree house, much less the house, in the style to which it was accustomed).

-We love our realtor. She’s a white woman married to a Korean man. For some strange reason, she and I bonded quickly. When I first called her we spoke of houses for 20 minutes, then chatted about in-laws and life for 40. Jrex came home in the middle of all that and was VERY confused when I got off the phone and said, “I found a realtor!”

-She gave us great news about how much our house has appreciated in four years. Still not enough to buy a house in NoCal, but encouraging anyway.

-The day after that, the aforementioned Meticulous Homeowner came and fixed some electrical and stove issues we had. My Dad and I tried to install new lights in the basement half bath, but when we were done we had a problem: if the bathroom light was turned off we lost power on the west side of the house. Nothing vital, just the doorbell, the light over my drawing table, and the sump pump. When Meticulous Homeowner finished he tested the doorbell and the dog started whimpering. She’d never heard it before! I guess now I won’t have an excuse when the Jehovah’s Witnesses stop by.

-I leave a week from tomorrow to go to Ireland for two weeks. I forget if I’ve talked about that before, but I’m going to design web sites for rural pastors in Western Ireland. We’ll be staying in their homes for 3-4 days and trying to get something on-line in that time span. The first pastor is also a cattle farmer! I’m SO excited to milk cows. I’m sure it’s all done by machine, but still. My Mom was a farmer’s daughter so I grew up hearing stories of cows, fields, and horses while I stared out the window at the brick walls of the house next door. Not only will I be on a farm, but an Irish farm, on an inlet, in a house with “LOTS of children”. I’ve always disliked being a tourist and this version of seeing a country seems as authentic as it can get.

-My grandmother (Mom’s mom), who had a stroke a year ago and broke her ankle this spring, sent me a $10 bill from her birthday money for my trip! It’s the most valuable ten dollars I’ve ever owned. I’m looking forward to finding her a gift over there.

-On the way home from that I have a five hour layover in Boston. I’m hoping to meet Snickollet for coffee (as long as the twins stay put till then…).

-When I get back from Ireland we’ll probably put our house on the market and hope someone grabs it within a week or so. I’m still awed that when we were moving from Rochester to Baltimore, Jrex had a strong sense that we should buy a house. I thought he was crazy. We wouldn’t know the city, it’s crazy to do that long distance, etc. But if we hadn’t done that we would have hit the housing boom and never could have afforded a house at all. As it is we got in just before Baltimore exploded. Wow. Not only that, we landed in the perfect house for us and our needs. Given that, I’m upset to leave our home, but getting excited to see what the next stage of provision will be. Apparently it will involve having to walk a dog… but I’ll get the exercise I pretend I want and get to meet the neighbors.

(The crazy thing is this leaves out getting my butt-kicked climbing, a weird conversation with another climber about his marriage that included the phrase, “at some point you take what you can get”, our neighbor who almost died and the almost daily phone calls with my MIL)

As my acting teacher said in college, “Don’t forget to breathe.”

May 18, 2006

Changing the Subject

Enough about me!

One of my closest friends is currently living in Northern Iraq doing service projects. She's learning Kurdish and training nurses in neonatal care. I'm really proud of her (and a little jealous--although Palo Alto does have desert-like qualities in the summer. It also has mountains! Hmm...). She sent me a link to a freelance journalist who moved to Iraq. He's supported himself there through his blog, Paypal and publishing articles. Here's one he wrote comparing/contrasting Iraq and Vietnam.

May 17, 2006


Item: We told the in-laws about the potential move. Mom was very encouraging. She reminded us she came to the US with nothing and she 'has everything' now. They left this morning.

Item: I worked on my resume all day.

Item: My boss is already telling friends and clients I’m leaving.

Item: I’m glad I went to a tech friendly, large school for my Masters (RIT) since I might need a network to call. I love my quirky little undergrad school, but our mere 30 years worth of grads puts a serious damper on networking capability.

Item: Jrex's advisor is in Palo Alto as I write. I’m so mad at him. He’s screwed my husband by making him beat a dead research horse for two years ('surely all those fabulous results by your sloppy predecessor MUST be valid!') but now he gets to go and sit pretty while the rest of us scramble. I wish I could trust him to be there advocating for all his peons but I'm doubtful.

Item: Anyone know any fabulous design firms in the Palo Alto area I should contact? Know anyone at Adobe?

Item: Despite all the seeming probability, this whole deal could still crumble. Right? Right?!

May 16, 2006

The Rest of the Mess

One of the reasons I love blogging is that as soon as I tell someone what is wrong, it no longer feels as heavy. Yet at the same time I get tired of having to repeat the story after the initial catharsis. Blogging solves both issues! Thank you all for your comments and your support after my MoDay post. It means more than I can say. I feel much better today (as you might notice while reading this post).

The in-laws are fine. I gave Jrex the heads up that he better deflect them if they ask me anything about kids, but so far so good. Mom brought a ton of pre-marinated kalbi and prok (that would be pork. Typo--not a foreign word). She told us to invite friends. We did. That deflected the baby talk and consumed enough food that nothing had to be frozen. Phew. Even the dog seems to be fine.

Before going to work today, Jrex told me he’d heard a ‘70% likely’ rumor that we’d have to move to Palo Alto. This morning he called from the lab to say there was a fat envelope from Stanford outside P’s office. Ugh!!! If we have to move, I want Seattle!!! I want my brother, sister, niece and possibly one of my best friends as consolation prizes. Yeah it rains. Yeah my husband would be so depressed by the gray that he might never move again, but we could ski in the rain! Where else is that possible? I think my co-worker’s comment sums it up: “"Excellent: from rain to earthquakes. And 1.3 million dollar starter homes! You'll be living in the rescue mission!"

But all this brings me to the real hardship of the in-laws visit.* After everything else, I know you’re bracing for impact. And you should!! It’s not everyone who could take all this and keep smiling. This final blow might be the straw on my double-hump back! Are you ready? Sigh. OK. I’ll tell you . . . I missed the Sunday/Monday season finale of Grey’s Anatomy. If you have no sympathy, then you clearly haven’t been watching the show. I mean just last week Meredith gave Derek the smackdown he deserved! Even Jrex was cheering her on. Who knows what I've missed (or where I can get a download or a plot synopsis)?!

After nine years of marriage, you’d think that Jrex would have the marital sympathy thing down. You’d think that when I started wailing and gnashing my teeth after realizing May 14th and 15th had PASSED he would have showered me with love and sympathy. Chocolates. Breakfast in bed. At least a tender shoulder. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he was great for the MoDay drama, but for the really big crisis what did I get? What depths of wisdom? What powerful motivator to keep going? Well, I’ll tell you. He looked at me very lovingly and said, “Honey, I really, really believe you will still wake up tomorrow.”

Hmph. We’ll see about that.

*Please note: in the interest of journalistic integrity I have to inform you that some items are exaggerated just slightly for melodramatic effect.

May 15, 2006

The Mum Day

The hard thing about grief is entering unexplored emotional regions. You have no landmarks, you don’t even know where you are, or why, or how to make it stop. My previous post speculated reasons for this emotional wall I’ve had toward my MIL. I was wrong on all counts. I’m actually in the midst of grief for something that has never happened. This summer I will turn 35. I never expected to be 35, married, and childless. If I were single I would likely be doing adoption or foster care. I can’t go into all the reasons here but they are valid and at the moment seem immovable. Which means all I can do is let myself feel the anger, sadness, and confusion. Not that feeling all that will solve anything. But not feeling it means I’ve been sleeping A LOT and that’s getting old.

I didn’t realize what was going on until Sunday morning when I didn’t leave my house until 20 minutes AFTER church had started. I didn’t want to go. I had no idea why, but I finally forced myself to leave the house. As I drove in, I heard something about Mother’s Day on the radio. And I just started crying. It hit me that I don’t want to be in church when they honor the Moms. I don’t want my in-laws to come and ask me when we’re going to have kids. I don’t want to pray about it. I don’t want to deal with it.

During the service a friend of mine was upset by something. I went out in the hall to comfort her. After we finished I came back in and stood in the back. As they sang a couple songs to finish I just started crying. As I stood feeling very alone and frustrated, I felt arms come around me and realized it was my friend S.

S. has struggled with back pain for 10 years. Eight months ago she had a daughter. During the pregnancy she could barely eat because her teeth hurt. She only gained 20 pounds during the pregnancy. Yet her baby was born VERY “healthy” (a euphemism for – “wow, your baby is so chubby she can’t even bend her legs!”) Baby A sported an amazing set of cheeks from the first day. Cheeks so thick and so round that her smile is just a separation of her lips. She can’t conquer gravity enough to curve up through the solid orbs hanging on either side of her face.

When I finished crying S. and I started to talk. She knows what it is to be tired of waiting and to be frustrated with God. If she cooks too long, her back hurts. If she holds her baby too long, walks too much, does too much or bends the wrong way then she’s in pain. She’s learning to accept that she may just be in pain for most of her life and in the midst of that, she’s finding a new life with joy and peace. Yet she envies me for all the things I get to do, the many people that I help. She wants to do all that and have a career, but she’s home alone with her baby. While I’m wanting what she has. We laughed together about the irony. Obviously there are no words to help, but it’s nice to feel less alone.

Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering? I made it just in time for them to call the Moms up to pray for them and give them gifts. Sigh.

May 12, 2006

Dia de las Madres

My mother-in-law (MIL) is coming Sunday-Tuesday for Mother’s day. Which is great. The thing is, I’ve been avoiding her for the last month or so. I haven’t called her or returned her calls. I’ve encouraged Jrex to call, but I haven’t chatted with her and I’m not sure why.

I know part of it is that I’m missing my mother. When that’s happened before, I just haven’t wanted to deal with a ‘mother figure’ no matter who that might be. Jrex’s mom has been wonderful to me. She treats me as a daughter, thinks of me as one, buys me gifts, and dresses me. She compliments me often, which I hear is rare for Korean mothers. “You look so good, you look so pretty, you look so wealthy” was one of my favorites. I suspect my avoidance is more about my stuff than her.

One close friend suggested I have my walls up cause I don’t want her to think I’m the perfect daughter-in-law—with the subsequent likelihood of her (and my father-in-law) wanting to live with us. That’s very possible. (Well, not that I would be the perfect DIL, but that I want to make sure she knows I'm not great to live with...)

The bigger factor, I think, is that the last time we visited, she and I prayed together. We did it Korean style, out loud at the same time (in two languages). Then we took turns praying for each other (her in Korean, me in English) I know we both felt very connected through that experience. I suspect the avoidance has more to do with that. We got too close to intimacy. She got too close to being like a Mom, but still not being MY mom. My amazing Mom, who also complimented me, but who didn’t have hidden expectations or controlling behaviors (well, she did have them, but she told me what they were. No guessing games). Maybe I don’t want to let my MIL in far enough that she tries to control me? So far all the ‘fights’ have been filtered through Jrex. He’s taken the brunt and sifted through the emotional chaos. Perhaps I don’t want to step into the communication front line.

It must be hard for her to figure out why I’m stepping forward and then stepping way back. I know I’m being rude and selfish, but it’s been hard to make myself step past this mystery wall. I’m not sure how the weekend will go.
On a totally petty note, we’ve yet to eat most of the food she made the last time! There’s no room in the freezer for another cooking frenzy. I told Jrex to tell her to bring NO food. But I don’t know if he did, or even if he did, if she will listen. The irony here is that the lack of gorging out is not the fault of the white girl, the non-Korean, the I-don’t-eat-red-meat-but-I’ll-change-to-make-life-easier-for-your-mother girl. There have been nights when I’ve suggested thawing the karbi or the buhgolghi and he’s said no. It’s just too much rich food. But she spent so much time making it the last time. Our heathen non-Korean lifestyle is about to be exposed!

May 10, 2006

RevGal Pals

I forget if I’ve detailed why we might have to move? Jrex’s advisor is waiting for written offers (which may or may not come) from Seattle and Stanford. If he gets and accepts one, the whole lab will have to move by August. At the beginning of April, his advisor asked all 20 lab members to consider if they could move with him. He expected an offer imminently and needed to get a quick response from people in the lab about their choice. Jrex’s funding this year and next is based on a grant in his advisor’s name. As they say, ‘follow the money’, and we would have to. However, we’ve heard nothing so far.

Which means we’re stuck in this limbo-land I keep whining about. One limbo item is my pastor’s request for me/us to think about me working as part-time staff for the church. He encouraged me to think about going back to school for counseling. He sees how much I invest in people and situations around me. If I were paid to do what I’m already doing, it might integrate some pieces of my life. My current boss was more than happy for me to work here part time and part time at church. I was seriously considering the possibility. But then we entered limbo.

In some ways because of the limbo, I’ve joined an on-line blog community called RevGal Pals: women serving in various spiritual/church capacities. I’ve never aspired to be a full-time pastor. Frankly, it’s never seemed worth all the headaches and politics. But I tend to end up in leadership roles in the various churches I’ve known. I’m a little tired of life feeling pulled in such disparate directions. I want to invest in something more meaningful than brochures, banners, and trade show graphics, but I’ve been thrashing around a bit to figure out where and what.

Perhaps, no matter where we live, I might venture in the counseling/ministry direction. Perhaps not. But while I’m waiting, it seemed good to ‘meet’ other women who’ve gone further down that road.

May 9, 2006

Flickr Photos

As promised, photos of the Sculpture Race. Do visit their website to see the water-based section of the race. We both regret missing that part!

May 8, 2006

Meeting the Moose

Friday I arrived at work by 10 am (I DO love parts of my job) and realized I’d forgotten about Fancy Non-Profit Luncheon at noon. Not a big deal except I designed ALL of it: invitation, ads, posters, program and gift bags and my boss is on the board. She stared in horror at my corduroy jeans and cute sandals. I ran home, pulled on a skirt, fancy top and pearls, squeezed into evil-bitch-torture-shoes and headed downtown.

One of the people being honored at the luncheon was the founder of the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM), Rebecca. I happened to sit next to a member of the museum's board (who happens to be the daughter of one of Baltimore's biggest corporations. The diamond on her left hand was bigger than my thumbnail). She started telling me stories of Rebecca. How she went to LA to check into founding a branch of the museum there. How only 20 people were supposed to show up to the meeting (run by the producer of Smallville), but 74 were there. Robin Williams is donating money; Rosie is giving art. Rebecca seems to spread joy and possibility wherever she goes. When she received her award and stood next to the Non-Profit’s Organizer for the photo-op, Rebecca put two fingers up behind her head. Everyone laughed.

Saturday we got to see more of the fruits of her vision. For eight years the AVAM has sponsored a ‘kinetic sculpture race’. It covers 15 miles of downtown Baltimore. The sculptures have to be ridden over a course that includes large hills, water, sand, and mud. We missed the water portion of the race and just went to the obstacle course in Patterson Park. Check out the race's website. Worthy of special note are the links for Official Rules and Awards. There are volunteers dressed like chickens who give tickets to racers. They also accept bribes to forgo the tickets. The winner of the race is the one who comes in the middle.

We love the fact that Baltimore is quirky, grungy, homegrown and proud of those facts. This race is the embodiment of that attitude. (I’ll post Flickr pics of all this tomorrow)

As we watched the contestants struggle through the mud pit, I looked around and noticed Rebecca behind me in a golf cart. Being the child of extroverted parents, I went over and introduced myself. Once, a number of years ago, Jrex and I vacationed in New Hampshire. As we drove up I prayed aloud, “OK, God, I would love to see a moose. Not in any dangerous, car-harming way, but up close. Please. Please. Please? Just letting you know.” We curved around the next bend and at the bottom of the hill? Yup. Big female moose. We pulled the car to the side and stared in awe at her body towering on spindly legs above the roof of the car. This was like that. No, not her appearance. The fact that after hearing so many Rebecca stories at lunch I thought, “Wow, I would love to meet her.” And the very next day, I did.

May 5, 2006

Getting into the boys club

A while ago I bemoaned the loss of my climbing partner and mentioned I was going climbing with someone new. Well, that one didn’t pan out (she’s an OB/BYN resident, so free time is a fantasy she maintains). But my former climbing partner, the extraordinary Lizard, suggested I try She Climbs once more and see whom I could connect with. I was introduced (OTRgirl and Dutchgirl here’s a common email. You both want to climb outside. Go!) to a great woman from the Netherlands. In the months she’s been here, she’s connected with a group of climbers from a local gym. The past two weeks we’ve met them on Thursdays after work to climb outside. I LOVE it. Real rock is much more challenging and creative than the gym. There’s no tape on the wall to say, “Go this way and if you can’t, ha-ha, fool!” A climb can be as hard or as easy as I want to make it.

Yesterday we drove together an hour north. The climbing group consisted of one of the guys who wrote the local climbing guide (!), two buddies who shared their rope set up with us, a muscled guy, an older professor, me and Dutchgirl, and two ‘girlfriends’. I guess if you date a climber, you’re semi-obligated to go with them, even if you’re terrified.

Our group started on the 5.6. In the climb ratings 5.0 is a vertical wall where a rope is advisable but possible to navigate without one. 5.6-5.7 is considered beginner territory. 5.8-5.10 is medium, 5.11 is challenging, and 5.12 and up are the people in the climbing magazines. One of the girlfriends whined her way up the climb. (Hey, that was I when I started. Climbing and backpacking have—very gradually—taught me to suck it up. Though, if you ask Jrex, I’ve yet to totally grasp the concept.) The picture at the top is me on that climb.

The two buddies were working a corner climb that was in the 5.9-5.10 scale (depending which way you went around the outcrop). They struggled a bit but were doing well. After they tired they invited us to try the rope. A couple of our guys jumped in. Then I decided to try it. There were a few sections that got iffy, but I love scrunchy corners so it was the kind of climb I do fairly well even if I’m out of shape. Before the climb Dutchgirl had mentioned to the guys that we would love to do outdoor climbing more often. They were saying sure, but weren’t enthusiastic. After I got down the offers became sincere and repeated. They would love to go out whenever we want to, would love to show us how to set up anchors, let’s get each other’s email, etc.

It got me thinking. Let me know if this is true or not, but I suspect it’s rare for guys to have ‘charity friendships’. Women often have friends who aren’t on equal footing in various arenas. But for guys, they bond with people they can respect. Women’s motivations can be more complex. Sometimes we connect because someone needs us, or because our life circumstances are parallel, or because we’re nearby. For women in a man’s world, you have to prove yourself. Respect is earned, never offered. After I climbed with relative ease where most of the guys struggled, I elevated out of the girlfriend realm (the one arena for ‘charity friendships’) and into the peer realm. That’s me doing the climb on the left.

Is that fair or true? I’m thinking of women in engineering, construction, the army, the police, or science. Places that are still dominated by men. Is that the way it works? Once you pass the unspoken hazing ritual, you become one of the guys. But then, being too feminine can jeopardize that standing. Put you back into dismissive girlfriend territory? I’m just curious if I’m way out in la-la speculation land or if that resonates at all.

May 4, 2006

I've got the shakes, people

Two weeks ago, my cell phone died. That same night I scooted over to the Corporate Cell Phone Store (CCPS) to get it fixed. Most of my social contact, especially with out of town friends, occurs while I’m driving (yeah, yeah, I know that’s a bad idea, but really, I only dial numbers at stop lights. Oh shoot, it’s green. Hold on!).

The bad news: it was dead. Dead as a doornail. Dead. Dead. Dead.
The “good” news? In two weeks I was due for an upgrade so my next phone could be free.

Two weeks?! Two weeks without being able to call Jrex to say I was running late? Two weeks without my sister? Two weeks without my boss and/or ‘favorite’ client being able to reach me? Two weeks without chatting with my Mom-in-law (in-network is free, baby)? Hmm...

I decided to be 1) cheap, and 2) experimental. The experiment was what form my withdrawal would take. Would I rush home so I could call people? Start instant messaging? (I spelled it out so my Dad knows what I’m talking about. Hi, Dad!) Feel totally alone and neglected? (Should that read ‘neglectful’?)

The answer was none of the above. I felt restful. Quiet. I keep having these cycles where I feel totally drained and have nothing left to give anyone. I know this sounds like one of those ‘want cheese with that?’ statements, but in most conversations and relationships in my life right now, I’m listening more than I’m being listened to (perhaps the reason for the blog?). Without the phone, the balance shifted. I wasn’t taking on more than I could handle. I couldn’t call ahead to fill my free time. Couldn’t do the ‘check-in’ call that turned into an hour-long counseling session. Two weeks where Jrex came home and I wasn’t on the phone.

And yet. Last night the two weeks was up. I wanted a phone ASAP. We met at home to drive to the CCPS. While there, Jrex decides to upgrade also. They had a great two-for-one deal. The downside was the store no longer carries camera-free cell phones. So the phones are now fairly bulky. Jrex already has a text pager bolted to his belt. The last thing he wants is another thing to give him a faux jelly roll before his time. He decided he wanted to be able to put the phone in his pocket. Holy tool belt, Batman, get the Razr phone! I had no problem with that. It’s trendy, cute, and has a 1.3 MP camera. It was more than I needed, but ok, twist my arm. Then we found out we’d save $80 if we ordered on-line. Sigh. Now I'm waiting another 2-5 days to get my phone.

In case you’re up on these trends, I did NOT get the pink one.

Is there a gadget you can’t live without (or with)? A supposed convenience that has become an obligation? If it were destroyed, would you replace it?

May 3, 2006

The Bush Roast

You may have already seen this, but here's the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner where Steven Colbert roasts W, as well as Jesse Jackson and the AP. Strange bedfellows in a bed full of razor sharp wit.

(This post is not an attempt to get political. I don't care who you are, it's hard to sit through a roast. I've never liked the idea of having to sit and smile while you're being shredded. And Colbert cuts close to the bone a few times!)

Just remember that "a 32 percent approval rating means that 68 percent approve of the job Bush isn't doing. Think about it"

May 2, 2006

In case you were wondering

. . . I'm definitely not a Korean woman. The other day I was with a group of friends including three Korean women. One of them complimented my shoes. I said a simple thanks. The whole group started discussing how cute they were and began asking where I bought them. Knowing this would be like advocating a visit to a leper colony, I laughed, “I only buy trendy shoes at Payless. I can’t be bothered to spend money on something that will be out of style in a year.” The white people nodded and smiled; it made sense to them. The three Korean women frowned slightly and changed the subject.
I just reread this and realized I should clarify. It sounds like such a total (and slightly dismissive) generalization. It's obviously not true of all white people or all Koreans. One of my best friends (who is Caucasian) has a lovely collection of Danskos, Clarks, and other fun boots and shoes. She also frowns at my thrift store/Payless tendencies. My Korean husband, on the other hand, frowns on my shoe collection. "Why do you need ANOTHER pair of black shoes?!"

Lots of my friends of all races shudder when they consider wearing someone else's clothing. I grew up wearing hand-me-downs from other families. Thrifting just provides money as the exchange rate versus charity. In terms of Payless, I go there for the one or two season items. I have my own collection of Danskos, a pair of Frye boots, Doc Martins and a pair of Clarks. I get them on sale, usually from Sierra Trading Post. Those are shoes I will wear regardless of style or trends. Shoes to wear for years.

As I'm writing, I've realized I have no idea what point I'm trying to make with this post. Is it the fact that I found shoes that fool people of discriminating taste? Is it finding a great deal? Is it yet another reminder that despite a facade of sophistication or style, I'm still an awkward tomboy? Did I feel 'caught' with my cheap shoes? Hmmm.... have I mentioned that I frequently suffer from foot-in-mouth disease?

May 1, 2006

Pre-missing, Part II

On Sunday afternoon we sat under our newly completed trellis and just appreciated the yard. The trellis was intended to make the yard feel enclosed and cozy, which it does. The great optical illusion is that it feels larger at the same time. I finally got the yard to the point where it's all perennials, mulch, and grass. Minimal work for maximal use. I thought I would at least get a few years to enjoy it. Not that anything is definite yet, but I just have a feeling in my gut that our time here is ending. Sigh. [click to enlarge photos]

When we first moved here we wanted a row house with no exterior upkeep. Now we not only have a free-standing house, but a treehouse that needs upkeep. How often have you had a coworker mutter, "I have to stain the treehouse this weekend"?

I won't miss the upkeep: mowing, raking, pruning and weeding (oh the weeds, oh the weeds, if there's one thing the Grinch hated most it was the weeds,weeds, weeds!). As much as I enjoy the end product, part of me feels guilty every time I spend a Saturday just working on the yard. Life feels too short to invest in something so temporary, I guess having to move would emphasize that point!

What about you? When you've moved, what was the hardest thing to leave? If you had to leave your current house, what would you miss?